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Regulation of wind generation towers

pandersen

Cyburbian
Messages
243
Points
9
Anyone out there got some examples of how these things are being handled in Development Plans and Zoning By-laws.

I'd be particularly interested in Canadian examples, but would gladly review examples south of the border or elsewhere.

Thanks in advance.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
public utility or private?

Our state statutes preempt local regulation of private power windmills.

The public utility ones I've seen done have been handled by conditional use, and have been restricted with large setbacks (apparently it is uncommon but they do throw a blade from time to time). Our state statutes allow the Public Service Commission (the state utility regulators) to trump any local regulation that they deem overly burdensome.
 

pandersen

Cyburbian
Messages
243
Points
9
Regulation of Wind Generators

The situation ypou describe in your state is pretty much the same for us up here in Manitoba.
 

PlannerByDay

Cyburbian
Messages
1,827
Points
24
Try contacting someone at the Northwest Michigna Council of Governments at www.nwm.org.

I know there are some wind generators located along the shores of Lake Michigan in Emmet County, you can see them as you cross the Mackinac Bridge on your way from th U.P. to the L.P. I just saw them a couple weeks ago.

Additionally, I have seen articles in the local newspaper in the 6 months about a strong anti-wind generator movement up in this area.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Whatever county in CA 29 Palms and surrounding area is should be able to help you out. They are everywhere out there.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Try contacting the government of PEI, they are in the process of getting ready for a wind farm. Sorry, i don't have a contact name or department, but it is PEI, just call the central switchboard and they will get you to the person you need.

As always, I'll look for a link.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
We've got one in Toronto, along the waterfront - and another out in Pickering. I'll try to chat with one of the planners to find out what the regs might have been.
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
Messages
1,169
Points
24
If you want to see how nasty a public dispute can become about wind farms, look at Massachusetts. A company wants to build a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod in Nantucket Sound. The rich people are angry that they will be able to see the steel structures from their monstrous "cottages." I hope they lose in court and the farm gets built.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Greenescapist said:
If you want to see how nasty a public dispute can become about wind farms, look at Massachusetts. A company wants to build a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod in Nantucket Sound. The rich people are angry that they will be able to see the steel structures from their monstrous "cottages." I hope they lose in court and the farm gets built.
This annoys me to no end. These are the people who want to shoot down every development proposal because of "environmental" reasons. When something comes along that can help produce electricity with few externalities these same people argue that they might see little specks 20 miles off shore.

Off topic statement: Cape Cod is an overrated area.
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
Messages
1,169
Points
24
Seabishop said:
Off topic statement: Cape Cod is an overrated area.
Agreed! Who wants to spend their vacation sitting in traffic with pushy suburbanites from MA, CT, NY and NJ anyway? Not me. I'd rather go to the mountains or the Maine coast.
 

jmf

Cyburbian
Messages
594
Points
17
Does anybody regulate individual Wind Generation Towers rather than wind farms? We have some people in more populated areas (not small town but not really rural either) who want to have a windmill on their property to reduce their power bills.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Gurnee has a bunch of them 30 miles west of him. He might have some observations.
 

pandersen

Cyburbian
Messages
243
Points
9
Thanks To all

Thansk to all who responded with links and leads on info related to the regulation of wind generation facilities.
 

OhioPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
304
Points
11
I did some research on this in the US about 2 years ago. First most of the wind generation is occurring in the county outside of city limits. Out in the county I didn't find any community that regulates the location/design of the wind turbines or wind farms.

I thought it was a very interesting issue and was a bit surprised that noone was regulating this from a zoning perspective.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
If you're interested in New Zealand's approach, NZ's Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority has a good, comprehensive overview available online:

"Guidelines for Renewable Energy Developments : Wind Energy
This report examines wind power technologies, gives advice on managing environmental effects, and information on obtaining necessary consents. There are numerous graphics throughout."

I can't provide a direct link but you can get to it via www.eeca.govt.nz then Energy Wise Renewables > Guidelines for Renewable Energy Developments: Wind Energy > one file
 

BCF

Cyburbian
Messages
29
Points
2
Seabishop said:
This annoys me to no end. These are the people who want to shoot down every development proposal because of "environmental" reasons. When something comes along that can help produce electricity with few externalities these same people argue that they might see little specks 20 miles off shore.

Off topic statement: Cape Cod is an overrated area.
You clearly haven't seen the pictures of coastal wind turbine farms in Europe. They aren't 20 miles off the coast - more like a couple hundred yards or less and range in height from 200 to 300 feet. They are some big suckers.

=Bob
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
rcf said:
You clearly haven't seen the pictures of coastal wind turbine farms in Europe. They aren't 20 miles off the coast - more like a couple hundred yards or less and range in height from 200 to 300 feet. They are some big suckers.

=Bob

Some on shore in Denmark.


This would be a different story . . . or maybe not. They've got to be somewhere and they're not as bad as a power plant. My feeling is that these people on the Cape think they have a special right to be protected from wind turbines while the rest of us don't.

 

BCF

Cyburbian
Messages
29
Points
2
cowley.11 said:
I did some research on this in the US about 2 years ago. First most of the wind generation is occurring in the county outside of city limits. Out in the county I didn't find any community that regulates the location/design of the wind turbines or wind farms.

I thought it was a very interesting issue and was a bit surprised that noone was regulating this from a zoning perspective.
We regulate them in San Diego County. The small ones we just have some regulations about height, setback, etc. and don't require a permit but the medium sized one require an administrative permit and the large ones require a use permit and aren't permitted on a parcel under 5 acres.

=Bob
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,150
Points
27
For wind farms, does anyone know how building and zoning departments set review and inspection fees? I've read some general information about fees assessed on a per turbine basis and other fee schedules basing in on the extent and complexity of the electrical inspection. Others charge fees if certain types of studies are needed, i.e. noise assessment, avian and wildlife impacts, etc.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,574
Points
41
Greenescapist said:
Agreed! Who wants to spend their vacation sitting in traffic with pushy suburbanites from MA, CT, NY and NJ anyway? Not me. I'd rather go to the mountains or the Maine coast.
My Chamber of Commerce thanks you as do the New Hampshire toll booths...lol

The delay on the bridge to my island is alot better than the ones to the Cape - I remember those trips - ouch

but on topic: I'm looking to put in an allowance for them in my town as part of the comp plan so I'll take anyone's model reg's too...
 

Queen B

Cyburbian
Messages
3,179
Points
25
In the windy land of Kansas I have some potential regs sitting here ready to go to the planning commission.

I am just pinch hitting here for now. So I have not even looked at them to know if they make any sense or not but guess I better get up to speed before the meeting.

Personally, my opinion, Let them put them up!!!!!!!!!!
If farmers are worried about loosing the Ag, I think we can give up some land for such a renewable resouce. I would do it in a heart beat over building any new nuclear plants or coal generated electric plants. Give it up, we have alot of wind out here and alot of wide open spaces.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,140
Points
35
Is a wind farm defined as a utility? Can local zoning regulate utilities?

(I know the answers here, I'm wondering about where y'all are ... :-x )
 

Plan-it

Cyburbian
Messages
996
Points
20
My own view is that we as planners should be assisting not prohibiting alternative energy sources. Anything that will help to improve air quality and living standards in our inhabited areas without major disruption to the "public good" should be encouraged.

I do recognize that there is a major difference between an individual with a small solar panel on their roof or a small wind turbine in their backyard compared with a person that put up an entire wind far in the middle of LA. Hey, those are the grey areas of planning right!
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
29
Be Supportive

Is it true that the blades from the wind farm wind mills sometimes break away, either due to bird impacts or fatigue???

We as planners must RISE up and declare our LOVE for all things Solar and wind powered......UNITE!! UNITE!! UNITE!!...........










.....as for me, I'll continue using my crappy high energy use appliances until solar and wind power becomes a tad bit more mainstream......and cheaper.....but dangit, I support their use!.:-c :-o :r: :D ;-)

The One is trying his best at conscious hypocrisy......and finding it difficult to stick with.....not to mention the ethical problems:r: ;-) :-D
 

Queen B

Cyburbian
Messages
3,179
Points
25
They have been regulating them across the state. Kind of like Cell towers, utility???? You could say yes. But we regulate them. We can not flat out turn them down but we can put conditional uses on them.
 

Charliesch

Cyburbian
Messages
43
Points
2
Setbacks; Sun Flicker

Setbacks are key for large wind turbines. We were able to achieve a 2,000 feet minimum setback from the nearest house as part of a zoning approval I was involved in for a wind farm in PA.

From the limited knowledge I have, noise is not a big problem. The turbines are actually designed to lock when the wind speed gets too high.

The biggest complaints from people near wind turbines is something I never would have thought of before. People complain about shadow flicker. That is the flickering of the sunlight as the turbines turn between the sun and a person's house. It is like the lights flickering on a regular basis.

They can easily be 425 feet high from ground to the top of the blade.

The one windfarm I saw in Walmart PA has 33 turbines. That particular site works well because you only see a few turbines at one time because there are many valleys and peaks. Also, the main neighbor is a prison. However, if you could see 33 turbines across an entire scenic ridgeline from your back yard, that would not be pleasant.

In the process of regulating wind farms, please be careful not to overregulate one windmill on a house or a farm. I know of one science museum that recently built a wind turbine on top of their museum as an educational tool.

There are wide disparities in the information about how much of a risk that wind turbines are to birds. Some municipalities require that the turbines be painted colors that are easier for the birds to see. The problem arises because wind farms are typically placed on mountain ridges that may be migratory routes for birds.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,150
Points
27
Thanks Charliesch. That was a great response. I learned a lot from you today. Anyone else have the same level of experience?
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,588
Points
22
Everything you ever wanted to know about wind power, but were afraid to ask...

Check out www.powernaturally.org/programs/wind/toolkit.asp -- a Wind Energy Toolkit available from the NYS Energy and Research Authority (NYSERDA). It has everything, including:
  • - wind energy model ordinances
  • - examples of NY Local Govt Laws and Zoning on wind
  • - environmental impact studies on (to name a few) birds & bats, construction, wildlife, etc.
  • - economic and socioeconomic impacts
  • (plus much more information)
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,588
Points
22
wind power video released

A seventeen-minute video has recently been released, featuring first-hand accounts from people living near wind farms and experts in the field energy and the enviroment. It gives preliminary information about the basics of wind energy from people who know -- the people that live with them everyday. (Incidentally, Fenner, NY has had their community farm project for 5 years now). Check out www.aceny.org.
 

cch

Cyburbian
Messages
1,436
Points
20
Northcentral Illinois has a wind farm near a town called Paw Paw, in Lee County. The same company that did that one, called Navitas, was showing interest in putting one in my old neck of the woods, and asked what our code said. At that time, it said nothing concerning wind farms. Navitas tried passing off on us a model ordinance their people drafted, and Lee County had used. Well, I thought there ordinance was lacking, and I don't trust anybody who is out to make a buck, but I did use it, along with some other ordinances around the US, specifically some California ones, to come up with my own draft that I was pretty proud of. Then I changed jobs, Navitas never inquired again, and I'm sure my draft went nowhere. But here are some things I suggested.

The measuring devises (to measure the wind, to determine if they even want to put a wind farm there) would have required just a building permit, and had to come down in 18 months. The wind farm itself would require a special use permit in an agricultural district. They had to be set back from the property line 1.1 times the height of the tower, and if a turbine wasn't working it had to be repaired or removed within a certain timeframe, there had to be certain fencing and signage, etc.
 
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